Whatever other weather vanes may be available for divining how the LeaveEU campaign is going, there is none more reliable than Boris Johnson.
I wonder how many of you noticed, sitting at the back of the assembled Commons clonoids last Wednesday, the engrossed figure of London Mayor and Uxbridge MP at one & the same time, Boris Jobsdone. He was watching the Prime Minister bringing home the most inedible cut of faux bacon offered to the House since Neville Chamberlain became a hero by getting Hitler’s autograph in 1938.
Within hours, BoJo was leaking and commenting in this manner:
“The Prime Minister is making the best of a bad job. Most people looking at this will think there’s a lot more to do. Let’s wait and see when this whole thing is agreed. And see what it really means – every bit of it”.
The clinical nature of Bojo’s reptilian cunning remains a fascination for me. It’s as though, half a century ago, a mad scientist decades ahead of his time – perhaps German? – found a way to combine the bite-and-kill instincts of a snake with the sexual discernment of a mixamatosoid rabbit and the chess-playing binary brain of a Kasparov. But however one chooses to see the London Mayor, as a Brexit-reader he has no equal.
Johnson is now the last Tory beast with leadership ambitions still in the mercenary territory (wherein sit the Tories who most terrify me) between EU In and Out. Last week, Home Secretary Theresa May-or-May-Not decided she was pissing out from inside the Camerlot Stay at all Costs tent. So now the Uxbridge MP for Islington & The City exists in his One Man’s Land.
The first and last rule with Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is that everything he says and does has a purpose, and that purpose is to increase his ability to exercise absolute power over the rest of us through the medium of likeable wit and undisciplined hair. In late 2009, I fingered BoJo – alongside Harriet Harman – as the two biggest threats to liberty in Britain. Harman having now retired hurt, we are left with Albo de Piffle as the most senior threat….although since 2009, of course, the runners and riders in this race have grown in a way that could put the Grand National manifest to shame.
It’s for obvious reasons of unprosecuted corruption, flash behaviour and puffed-up greed that I have in the past used nicknames for the Mayor like Borisconi the Barbarian and Benito Johnsonini. However, as the ultimate opportunist, Johnson has one of those index fingers that spends its leisure hours doing two things: sticking it up to the rest of us, and testing the wind direction.
His actions at the moment suggest to me that Boris detects a wind changing in the direction of Brexit. This may be a passing phase; on the other hand, he has many mates in the Square Mile who would just love to run a mile from the threat of venal EC regulation of the City of London.
As Churchill once remarked, “I would sup with the Devil himself to rid this world of the scourge of Nazism”. Reluctantly, I have similar feelings about breaking bread with Mr Johnson and quitting the EU – if the objective was to free us from unelected corporatocracy. I rather suspect one would merely be swapping one brand of it for another.
Pontificating this morning from his lofty column in the increasingly dire Telegraph, BoJo’s dayglo double standards come out as clearly as ever. As a truly pointless Tube strike heads towards the Mayor’s fiefdom, he takes a swipe at Labour’s Mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan who, he declares, should ‘man up. This is a golden opportunity to make a statement of the blindingly obvious. Denounce this bonkers strike….He would not dream of coming straight out and condemning this nonsensical strike because he is the creature of the unions; he is their patsy and their plaything.’
‘Man up’ indeed. You have to laugh. Boris would not dream of coming straight out and denouncing banker bonuses and lawlessness, for he is their creature, their patsy, their plaything. And of course, far be it from Jobsdone to adopt a more honest and straightforward approach to Brexit….as opposed to the Yes and No With Reservations opportunism he’s been serving up for the last three years.
But as I always say, those with double standards always want double helpings. The one certainty with Boris Algernon Ponsonby de Woffle Tomthumb is that his waistline reflects his greed. Previous occupants of City Hall have tried to help; Johnson just helps himself….and passes on the leftovers to his cronies.
“We really must stop this Boris bashing,” said Barry Pringle-Gorfsweatah of Woking, “I think he’s one of us and just the chap to get us through this”. He’s at least two of me, and I detest both of them. But if he declared for Brexit – and be under no illusions, it would be purely a leadership bid – I have to confess it would be Game Over for Dave.
As the Buddhists say, good nearly always emerges from bad.